Gordon Burns Leaves BBC North West Tonight

BBC, Gordon BurnsFormer Krypton Factor host Gordon Burns is to leave the Manchester-based BBC North West Tonight after nearly 15 years presenting the programme.

Former Krypton Factor host Gordon Burns is to leave the Manchester-based BBC North West Tonight after nearly 15 years presenting the programme.

Burns will depart the local news show at the end of September 2011. He will continue to work with the BBC presenting a brand new show broadcast simultaneously on Radio Manchester and Radio Lancashire, on Sunday mornings later this year.

BBC, Gordon BurnsGordon says of his television departure: “It will be a great wrench to leave the programme I have been proud to present for nearly a decade and a half. I’ve enjoyed it enormously and I regard it as a real privilege to have been in the homes of people across the North West for so many years delivering the news to them. I have enjoyed a great relationship with the North West Tonight audience and I think I’ll miss that most of all.

“My programme colleagues have also been a joy to work with in what must surely be one of the happiest newsrooms in the country. The fun and banter viewers see at the end of North West Tonight each evening is exactly what goes on off screen too. We are all genuinely good mates. I’ll be wishing them good luck and great programmes ahead when I leave at the end of September and will of course be envious of their amazing new state-of-the-art facilities when they transfer across to the magnificent new MediaCity in Salford.

“I’m pleased that I won’t be missing out on the excitement of the big move as I’ll be heading over there with my brand new show on Radio Manchester and Radio Lancashire. But for the next six months I will continue to concentrate on co-presenting North West Tonight with all the enthusiasm and dedication I can muster in the constant bid to produce programmes of the very highest standard.”

Gordon Burns has presented BBC North West Tonight since January 1997. He has won five Royal Television Society awards for Best UK Regional Presenter (NW) and North West Tonight has won Best Regional News programme six times with him at the helm. During this time, North West Tonight has emerged as the clear market leader for news in the region, by some distance.

Aziz Rashid, Head of BBC North West, paid tribute to the region’s highest profile news anchor, saying: “Gordon’s contribution to the success of North West Tonight has been phenomenal. In fact he is a broadcasting phenomenon.

“His is a unique talent who has navigated millions of viewers through the issues that matter across the region. I’d like to thank him for his commitment and expertise and I’m delighted that Gordon has agreed to present a brand new show on our radio stations for Manchester and Lancashire.”

Gordon began his career as a reporter in Belfast where he was born. He then went to BBC radio in London working on programmes like Sports Report and Sports Parade. He also had a spell on the Today programme before returning to Belfast where he was appointed sports editor of Ulster Television.

ITV, Krypton FactorWhen the troubles began in Northern Ireland, Gordon fronted the nightly news programme UTV Reports covering, over a four-year period, events like Bloody Sunday and the fall of the Stormont parliament. He describes that time as the most testing of his life. He was later given his own late night chat show, The Gordon Burns Hour.

Returning to England, Gordon first presented BBC North West rival show Granada Reports for ITV Granada and then produced and presented Granada’s political programmes in the North West.

Gordon is best known nationally for The Krypton Factor. Launched in 1977 it ran at peak time on ITV for 18 years, attracting audiences in excess of 15 million. Gordon not only presented the show but also wrote it and helped devise many of the mentally challenging rounds.

David Holdsworth, Controller, BBC English Regions, said: “The word ‘icon’ can be overused – but not in this case. Gordon Burns is synonymous with regional broadcasting and viewers in the North West have adopted him as one of their own. He will be a hard act to follow.”